Lipa Staza is most direct path which leads from Paklenica hut towards Vaganski Vrh. After 2h it splits from where one branch leads towards Liburnija (1710m). Ascent can be divided can be divided in 3 sections: steep forest, even steeper scree and finally through dwarf pine and over grassy slopes to the summit. Lower 2/3 of the route lead through nice, but steep, beech and maple forest. Upper third which leads over scree is very tough, toughest section on all Vaganski Vrh route. It is very tiring as vertical gain over the scree is around 400m at angle of over 45°. Once on the seaboard ridge above it suffering is over. If you are starting from parking in Velika Paklenica canyon add another 1.30h to the route or 2.30h from the Starigrad Paklenica on the coast to 5h needed from the hut.
Paklenica hut – Vaganski Vrh: 5h
Behind the hut, by the pool, path enters the beech forest and ascent begins. After few minutes and several bends view towards peaks above and back down on Paklenica valley opens. After further short ascent path turns left and heads horizontally till Ramici hamlet and passes right of house of Jole and Maria, last inhabitants of Paklenica, 15mins from the hut. Here is important junction of paths. Left is Struge route, straight up Bukova Staza, while little bit to the right Lipa Staza leads and that is where we are heading.
Dozen meters to the right wooden plate shows the direction. At first ascent is gradual; path leads over predominantly rocky slope with some grass, between rare pines or junipers. Little bit above it goes by the rocky fence then turns right around its corner and dozen meters behind left into the more serious forest. Some 15mins from the junction below you enter into high beech forest to the right but soon path turns left, winding uphill. After 15mins you are on the junction where towards left path leads to Bukova Staza route. Our path goes right.
5mins lasts flat section before path turns left going straight uphill through shallow rising canal. There aren’t many bends in this section which lasts around 30mins when path turns sharply right, exiting the canal. Behind the exit ‘third’ section before next junction begins. Nothing is changed as ascent continues to be steep and it gets steeper. Path winds through beech and maple forest. After 40mins you are on the junction where Lipa Staza splits, 2h from the hut. Right it leads towards Liburnija (1710m) while straight up it continues towards Vaganski Vrh, where you are going.
After some 20-30mins of very steep ascent through beech forest path leaves it by exiting towards left onto grassy slope with lonely beech tree. View opens down upon Velika Paklenica and the sea. This is nice place to rest before most difficult part of the ascent.
Over the short grassy slope and through short beech grove path reaches the boulder strewn bottom of the scree. Here it turns right and goes by the right edge of the boulders. Above it shortly goes by the edge of beeches before turning left where path crosses on the other side of scree. Marks then turn right and head steeply up below the cliffs of steep ridge. On top of this section marks turn right and ascent steeply between dwarf pines and over the scree. On this section it goes far to the right before turning sharply left one last time. Over very steep scree slope you reach the pass (1620m) on the seaboard ridge of highest peaks group. It is hard to say how much time one needs to surmount this scree section, but it shouldn’t be more than 1.30h, 4h from the hut. View back down from the pass towards Velika Paklenica is like from an airplane and the scree slope you just climbed looks almost perpendicular. Behind the pass is huge basin, overgrown with dwarf pine, closed by Vaganski Vrh (1757m), Segestin (1715m) and Brundo (1714m).
Path turns left, ascending over panoramic ridge which leads to nameless peak (1660m). Little bit below it, after some 10mins path turns right, going through dense dwarf pine area, descending a little bit. In some 10-15mins small grassy valley opens on the left. Vaganski vrh is left, above it. Through its bottom, after a short ascent you’ll reach VPP trail (Vaganski Vrh – Sveto Brdo section), 10mins. Right is Sveto Brdo while left 15mins more are needed over steep grassy slopes till the summit of highest peak of Velebit, 5h from the hut.